What To Watch For: The Writers’ Block

Surprise!

Welp!

I am happy now to present that I am in the final stages of launching a podcast on iTunes and Google Play with the help of Valor Music, Inc. The name of it is The Writers’ Block.

This podcast has been a year in the making.

The Writers’ Block is a weekly podcast that will be a space to talk about the business of writing, it’s challenges and even the need to write–as all writers are familiar with.

The Writers’ Block will feature local and indie authors, as well as their projects! I believe the podcast will serve as an anchor, encouragement and sounding board for writers current and future. We know that you only get better with writing, by writing. But sometimes you need to be reminded of the magic pen and paper still create.

JBHarris Writing Services Tool: Encouragement Pages

This is a new thing on JBHarris Writing Services. It is going to be used as a tool of encouragement and focus. Three times a week there will be posting to encourage you to keep writing.

They will range from the serious to the affirming, and sometimes funny. But the goal is always to keep you writing, fellow scribes and oracles!

Look for encouragement pages to start every Monday, Wednesday and Friday starting April 10!

Professional Networking and How-To’s:

Image result for building a network

The crazy thing about being a writer is we are these packs of lone wolves, that want all these attention of other people through our various talents.

There is something to be said for being a writer and being able to construct you own network. You must understand that writers do not, cannot, exist in a vacuum.

Writers need community.

The health of writers depends on community!

Social media has given writers the access and courage to engage the entire world. From Facebook, Twitter to the SquareSpace and WordPress, writers now are able to find other people of our tribe with button clicks! You are able to post work, interact with the people that read it, and interact with other writers.

From these three tenets, you have the beginning of your social media connections. These connections will allow you to build confidence and a professional network to showcase! It will allow you to have platforms to collaborate with, to talk shop with and learn from.

Writing is a solitary profession, yes. But the health of your writing career is not just in talent but in community.

[image from crashtactics.com]

Research Made Yours: The Power Of Making Your Own Myth

There is a blessing in creating your own world.

And with all that creation, you need something that will hold it together. You need the thread that belief and myth provide.

When I began my writing career, I was in a sort of tailspin. I knew that I wanted to write, but I also knew that I wanted to write about a great many things!

(This is where I must plug the necessity for you as a writer to have a tribe or network by which you are engaged. It can be life saving! Don’t knock social media!)

I follow several writers on Twitter. None have been so gracious as the magnanimous Tananarive Due. She is a published writer (NYT Best Selling, mind you) and she teaches at UCLA. The fact that she would have time to even answer me, a struggling, have drowning writer in the social media ether was monumental.

I asked her about making time to write. I asked her about how she made time. I even asked her about research and work. Tananarive Due gave me a piece of advice that I will give to you:

“Make it up.”

She told me this in response to needing a myth, specific research for a topic. Her advice was if I didn’t see it, couldn’t find it, just make it up. Tananarive Due didn’t know that she had just shattered the glass ceiling of my imagination.

With imagination being my fuel and conduit to express my thoughts on the world, I did not know I could do that. I did not know I could make up what I needed independent of what I had seen in a book. I didn’t know I could do that–be allowed to do that!

In reminding me of what I am, of what I am allowed to do, that freed me is a writer. It let me explore with a more fearless stance. It allowed me to research, to read, not just to take as gospel fact–but to analyze. To bend. To reinterpret. To make my own.

As a writer, a teacher, I give you this same freedom. I free you from the staunch mechanics of your imaginations! You are a writer, so write. You have to absolute right to construct and deconstruct the worlds you create as you see fit! You must make up what you need, by simple virtue of needing it.

Go forth and create. Challenge your imagination, and see what the fruits are and become of it. Remember the guiding light from the Dark Tower of Stephen King as you do: “Do not come soft to the blank page.”

Writer’s Corner: Savan Robbins

The lovely Savan Robbins is an enigma wrapped with immaculate eyebrows. From the humorous to the erotic, she has a little bit of something for everyone. In her hectic schedule, she took time out to speak to our admin about what makes her tick. As well as what keeps her pen, and cursor moving.

When asked about the beginning of her writing resume, she admits she’s been writing since she was about 12. “I started with short stories, mostly dramas or horror type works, then later evolved into romance and more erotic type work (in conjunction with other genres) as an adult.”

Like all writers, Savan has her own writing schedule–crafted to her needs. She says her greatest challenge is overcoming life obstacles and just finding time to write. “It’s a never-ending challenge at this point. But in time, it gets easier.”

Take this critical piece of writing from Savan, given as only a writer can deliver it:

“My writing schedule is essentially write when you can. For some, having a specific schedule works. For others, life can get in the way and other things will be more important at times. So my advice with this is: if you’re the type of person who can make a schedule and stick to it, do that. If you can’t, just write whenever the mood strikes you. There is no right or wrong way to write. Just do whatever works best for you.”

From this rich advice, we delved deeper. It’s always easy to think the people whom call themselves writers never have an issue or problem, well, writing! When asked about this, Savan admits writing isn’t easy. As a matter of fact, she says it this way: “If you’re doing it right it’s hard.” When given the space to expound upon that, she says writing a book no one will read is easy; writing a book for others is hard.

Savan gives this additional gem:

“It’s more than just good grammar or stringing phrases together that make sense; it’s thinking about ideas, research and editing, finding covers, marketing, reading (and not absorbing) negative reviews…there are so many parts that go into selling a book to the masses that people don’t even think about. But if you are willing to do what it takes to make your dream happen, it will be the most fulfilling thing you’ll ever do.”

With the majority of her work published exclusively to Amazon, Savan says her greatest joy with writing is when readers let her know that they enjoyed the story or really connected with something she wrote and it resonated with them.

When asked about current and future projects, Savan is focusing more on editing at the moment. However, fear not Savan fans! She says there are some paranormal romance projects and some contemporary works she has in the works. Savan also said that she has some novellas brewing which should be published later on in this summer.

With all the gems given during the course of time together, Savan was asked if she had any other advice for new writers or those whom want to start writing again. As she has for the entire interview, she gives this last jewel.

“Just keep writing. If you get negative feedback about your writing, step outside your feelings – because writers are sensitive about criticism even if we say we’re not – and see if it truly applies to your work. Then figure out how to make it better. There are thousands of craft books and free and paid tools to perfect your writing. The only thing that will hold anyone back from being a great writer is their own ego. The sky is the limit…”

Indeed it is, Savan. See you on the Best-Sellers list!

Savan Robbins is a writer extraordinaire who is conquering the world one word and one page at a time. From romance to common sense soup for the soul, she’s got you covered.
You can find her for editing needs at theblurbdiva.com or check out her author page at savanrobbins.com.

Why Writers Need Homework

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The imagination of a writer is a marvelous thing. It can be freeing, nonrestrictive and provide seducing conversation. Yet, as a writer, you must understand that you have to feed it.

What do I mean?

Well, the adage is that writers should always be reading. There should be an a book that you are reading, would like to read, and of course have a TBR list. Reading allows you to critique, critically think, and check out the competition. A writer needs homework. The greater thing? Unlike when you were in school, you get to pick the amount of homework.

If you like horror, you should be reading it.

If fantasy and romance are your jam, you should be reading it.

If you like sci-fi, it’s not enough to watch SyFy.

Reading is the simplest way to fuel your imagination. To stretch it! Find new things that you like. Find out what else you could branch out to and towards. What challenges you? What inspires you? Or, what genre or topic do you escape with.

Being a writer means you will have homework forever. This is not an exaggeration. This is the blessing and the curse of being a writer. There may always be a portion of you that is intrigued by something said, overheard or read. From that, the gears of your imagination may turn–even without your conscious knowledge. Don’t fear that. The homework is what you make it. The homework is to strengthen, to encourage and remind of you of this:

If you are a writer, you have to write.

Ergo, you need something to write about.

Do you homework, my scribes, poets and oracles. Do your homework.

[image from pcthandbook.com]

Research & Genre

When branching out into new genres, this is always going to require some work. However, but researching for a specific genre is another sort of work. This research allows you to see where it is your imagination may be naturally bent towards.

Anne Rice says it this way:

“Go to wear the joy is.”

In researching where your joy lies, it may take trial and error. It make take several changes for you to find your beat and bearings in it.

How you write for fiction isn’t the same as non-fiction.

How you write romances isn’t the same as how you write horror, fantasy or speculative fiction.

In finding your beat, you must know what the basic rules are in order to bend (or break) them to your liking.

In research, this includes writers groups and workshops. Research isn’t limited to Google, old wives tales and Reddit.

You’re a writer. By nature of profession, you get the freedom to change something and no one notice straight away. Use that to your advantage.

Research.

Rewrite.

Find what works.

Keep bending pages.

[Image from slideplayer.com]